Former Vice President of Colombia, Francisco Santos, formally apologized Friday for saying that the state should use tasers to control student protesters.
The ex-vice president, who is currently working as RCN’s morning radio host, said sorry following outrage created by his statements Thursday. Santos had argued that student protests were out of control and that if students want to go out and protest they “will be faced, forcefully, with the legal arm of state repression.”
Santos said in a follow-up video blog, “I was wrong, I stigmatized social movements, which is an immense error.”
He went on to apologize to the student population and to the country as a whole.
The former vice-president, who was in charge of human rights issues under former president Alvaro Uribe, said, “A debate as important as the legitimate use of force in relation to human rights is a much more complex debate that I should not have discussed in this way.”
Santos is receiving heavy criticism for his statements, with countless people expressing their disgust and concern on social media websites.
On social network website Twitter, the hashtag #PachitoelElectocutor (Little Pacho the Electrocutor) became a trending topic for people to express their opinion on his comments. Santos himself used the same hashtag to post his apology, in which he said “I made a mistake and I ask for forgiveness.”
The former vice president made the statement regarding student protests that have been taking place all over the country in opposition to a government proposal to reform higher education. Students held nationwide demonstrations Thursday, slowing down major cities in what protesters see as a fight for their fundamental rights to free speech and education.